HC Deb 13 January 1986 vol 89 cc770-1
39. Mr. Spearing

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, pursuant to his statement of 5 December about the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation, what arrangements he has made for additional sums for work on soil and water management in arid or semi-arid areas.

Mr. Raison

I have allocated £400,000 per annum to support work on soil and water management in arid or semi-arid areas.

Mr. Spearing

Does the Minister agree that, welcome though the allocation is, it does not fill the gap left by the decimation of the Land Resources Development Centre, which was cut by the Prime Minister-inspired Rayner review three or four years ago? If the Government take African famine seriously, will they restore the resources for the centre at least to the level that existed before the cuts insisted on by the Prime Minister?

Mr. Raison

The hon. Gentleman is exaggerating. The LRDC is an admirable body which is continuing to do admirable work.

Mr. Alan Howarth

In the wake of the decision to withdraw from UNESCO, will my right hon. Friend undertake to give the best support he can to the work of agricultural research institutes in this country, such as the national vegetable research station at Wellesbourne, which is doing work of proven value to Third world countries as well as to our own? Will my right hon. Friend encourage his colleagues at the Ministry of Agriculture and the Department of Education and Science to do likewise?

Mr. Raison

I agree with my hon. Friend about the great importance of agricultural research. My Department certainly does all that it can to propagate that.

Forward to